Be My Valentine…Snack

Welcome to Me, Me Monday! A day to promote, strut, and celebrate your Me-ness!

Peter is all about the strutting…and the flirting in ‘Be My Valentine…Snack’. The problem is he’s doing it with the worst person imagination…Damian’s aunt, Duessa Ashelocke.

 

“No need to trouble such shy blooms, when there’s a flower in full bloom!” Peter released my shoulder to make a sweeping bow to Duessa. “A flower that’s irresistibly drawn to the rose in your fair hand!”

What? My jaw dropped slightly.

Peter nudged me slightly to the side, puffing out his chest.

He wasn’t much bigger than me, but much more confident about his slightness. He had much darker skin than Damian or myself, revealed in creamy patches through his poet’s shirt and open red vest.

Peter was like a little bird, strutting and showing off his plumage to all possible mates. This meant just about everyone.

One never would have guessed this. Not judging by the way the way he fixed his dark, soulful eyes upon Duessa Ashelocke.

I blinked and shook my head.

I shouldn’t haven’t been that shocked. Duessa Ashelocke was hardly ugly. She had the same heart-shaped face as her nephew, along with the same slender hands.

Even if there were eight of them. Duessa kept the additional six were kept hidden. I wasn’t entirely sure how she did it, or what made them visible.

Right now, she appeared to be a beautiful human woman. Her true form was hardly unattractive either. Each additional limb was elegant, moving with a sinuous grace from her side.

It was the danger suggested by her form which made me wary

“Each of Duessa’s eyes can appraise your beauty, power, and flavor.” Damian had gestured with one finger to his face, so similar in shape to his aunt’s, only he only possessed two eyes. “When she opens them, beware.”

I doubted Peter saw anything, besides a beautiful woman. This was bad.

Flirting with Duessa could be dangerous. What if she accepted Peter’s advances?

What if she lured him out of the protection of Gabrielle’s store?

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Be My Valentine…Snack

Welcome to Rainbow Snippets!

Every Saturday, six sentences of LGBTQ+ fiction is posted and shared. It can be your own. It can be someone else’s. It just needs to be LGBTQ+.

To read a wide variety of LGBTQ+ fiction, go to

https://www.facebook.com/groups/RainbowSnippets/?ref=group_header

For mine, Christopher continues where he left off on Wednesday in ‘Be My Valentine…Snack’.

This is a little longer than six sentences, but cutting it short didn’t quite work. They’re short sentences, though…

 

I’d asked him not to touch me. Many times.

Peter was a very physical person, though. His hands almost needed to explore other people’s shoulders, fingers, or arms, invading the space around them.

My space in particular.

Peter was the replacement Gabrielle had found for Damian. He wasn’t a bad person, not really.

I just wished he wouldn’t make the air around me vibrate, forcing himself into the invisible circle I visualized around the fragile body I occupied.

Be My Valentine…Snack

Welcome to #QueerBlogWed, a time to celebrate the unique in our blogs and posts.

For me, it’s time to share the next part of ‘Be My Valentine…Snack’, the third prelude to ‘Stealing Myself From Shadows’.

‘Stealing Myself From Shadows’ is the first novel in  ‘Tales of the Navel/The Shadow Forest’, an ambient fantasy series based on Tarot card imagery. It’s currently under revision.

‘Be My Valentine…Snack’ is appearing in segments every Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday.

Enjoy!

 

Happily, my favorite items in the store weren’t among the disappearing and reppearing objects. They were also Duessa’s least favorites; her nephew’s attempts at being an artist.

Damian had hand painted decks of cards, which sat in intricately carved wooden boxes upon the Navel’s shelves. A row of clay skulls he’d sculpted grinned in a row below the boxes.

Anything he’d carved, drawn, or painted attracted my eye, along with my fingers. I couldn’t resist to urge to touch everything he’d laid his hands upon.

“Art means so many different things, depending on who sees it.” He’d spread out in a fan several cards, including a boy at the edge of a cliff, an egg in fiery waters, of a robed figure with a scythe. “Sight isn’t the only way we can perceive it, let alone interact with it.”

All of Damian’s art absorbed me, but nothing was the equal to ’Waiting for Rebirth’. Not as far as I was concerned.

This had been my favorite, the one I’d been the model. I’d stood under the sky in Omphalos’s garden for hours, while Damian painted his inner vision, pouring all of his magic onto the canvas.

Ultimately, it had been ‘Waiting for Rebirth’, which had taken Damian away. The painting was no longer in the store. As far as I knew, it was no longer anywhere in this world.

I doubted anyone else missed it, least of all Duessa. She detested all of Damian’s artistic endevours.

A curious attitude, since there were far more offensive things in the shop.

“Come, don’t trouble our shy little blossom!”

A hand reached out to seize my shoulder from behind, digging into my flesh almost roughly.

“Think of the offensive and he will grab you,” I muttered, reaching for the offending fingers. One would have thought my body parts belonged to Peter and not to me.

Be My Valentine…Snack

It’s Me Me Monday! A day to promote, strut, and celebrate your Me-ness!

Only today it’s the Navel, showing off its weirdness through Christopher’s eyes in the next part of ‘Be My Valentine…Snack’.

 

A grinning weasel dressed in ritual robes gestured with a paw toward a closed wardrobe. The wardrobe in question was carved with chubby cheeked demons serving figs to an enormous winged carrot. The same angelic vegetable appeared here and there amidst the chicken deities, often with a cringing rabbit chained to its side.

I made a practice of collecting myths and legends, but I had no idea what half of the carvings and statuettes in the Navel were from.

This was only the beginning of the bizarreness one could find in the Navel.

Certain objects had a way of appearing whenever a particular customer came in. The item might be as innocuous as a candle or as striking as a doll dressed in brightly colored silks. Whatever it was, the customer found herself drawn toward the object, unable to walk out of the store without it.

This was what made the Navel unlike any shop I could remember. Over time, I’d come to accept it without question.

Be My Valentine…Snack

Welcome to Rainbow Snippets! Every Saturday, six sentences of LGBTQ+ fiction are posted and shared. It can be your own. It can be someone else’s. It just needs to be LGBTQ+.

To read a wide variety of samples from LGBTQ+ stories, go to

https://www.facebook.com/groups/RainbowSnippets/?ref=group_header

Duessa continues to press her strange suit to her nephew’s former admirer, an action that alarms and irritates Christopher.

She picks up where she left off on Wednesday in ‘Be My Valentine…Snack’.

 

“Why reject me?” Duessa lifted the rose to her lips. “I could keep you in far greater splendor than Gabrielle does. You could quit working in this absurd monstrosity of a shop.”

Duessa infused as much contempt into the word ‘shop’ as she could channel into it.

She bestowed a withering gaze upon the metal chicken gods, the ritual ropes embroidered with smiley faces, and the grinning goddess with a hen’s head, exposing a feathery thigh from the ruffled folds of a fluffy skirt.

Well, ‘Brie did refer to the Navel as ‘the center of all things bizarre’. My mother did her best to see that her shop lived up to its catch phrase.

To be continued on Monday…

Be My Valentine…Snack

It’s #QueerBlogWed, time to celebrate something queer in the Cauldron.

This time, it’s the next part of ‘Be My Valentine…Snack’, the third prelude to ‘Stealing Myself From Shadows’, my novel under revision.

‘Stealing Myself From Shadows’ is the first book in my ‘Tales of the Navel/The Shadow Forest’ series, an ambient fantasy collection of stories based on Tarot card imagery.

This particular prelude is from Christopher’s perspective. He’s having to deal with a particularly difficult customer; Damian’s predatory Aunt Duessa.

 

“That’s not true.” I glanced at the rose. My eyes might have a purple cast, but they were nothing like Damian’s. Nothing. “My eyes are only a pale lavender shadow of that vibrant hue.”

I didn’t even bother to keep the bitterness out of my voice.

“Ah, poor little Christopher, abandoned in this shack of a store by the one who brought you here.” Duessa pressed a hand to her ruffled breast with mocking sympathy.

I gave her a sharp look at that comment.

Duessa had suspected from the moment she met me I wasn’t truly Gabrielle’s son.

Not that ‘Brie treated me like anything else, bless her generous heart.

 

To be continued on Saturday…

Be My Valentine…Snack

Happy New Year! It’s the first Me Me Monday of 2018, where Christopher and I pick up where we left off in the third prelude to ‘Stealing Myself From Shadows’, ‘Be My Valentine…Snack’.

Not that Christopher has any intention of allowing Duessa to celebrate a new beginning by eating him. Plus she’s reminding him of someone who’s not about to be forgot…

Duessa Ashelocke was Gabrielle’s former mentor. She was also a lady and a regular customer at the Navel.

Most importantly, she was Damian’s aunt. I ought to be afraid of her. At the very least, I ought to respect her.

“I don’t know why you’re offering such a rose to me, Lady Duessa.” I kept my eyes fixed upon a store shelf.

All the skulls Damian had created out of clay rested upon it. They grinned at me with all the mischievous merriment of their maker.

I’d found these lost skulls in storage and brought them out of hiding. Some customers found their empty eye sockets terrifying, which was why Gabrielle had packed them away.

I found their grins comforting, but I was learning to appreciate their empty stares as well. They saw nothing and expected nothing in return.

Unlike certain employees in the Navel, who gazed at me with a constant hungry yearning I had no idea how to respond to.

Speaking of certain employees, I could feel hear his breath behind the shelves, expectant and filled with anger.

Why Peter was upset, not to mention hiding from a customer as attractive as Duessa was a mystery. Perhaps he was showing sense for once. Duessa Ashelocke was a dangerous woman to flirt with.

The lady in question had her eyes fixed upon me, compelling me to meet her own.

A pair of wrinkles quivered beneath them, revealing themselves as closed eyelids. I could almost see the reddish lashes against her cheek. A simple illusion I could pierce if I wished.

Seeing Duessa’s true form once had been terrifying enough. I kept my gaze upon the skulls, trying to draw courage from the quiet darkness of their empty eyesockets.

Each bared its teeth in a smile Damian had once used to dazzle and confuse others with. Just another little piece of him to hold close to myself, since the rest of him had slipped through my fingers.

“The color of this rose matches your eyes, so prettily.” Duessa made another little bow, rustling her layered black and russet skirts.

I watched her sides warily, but she kept her additional arms hidden. Except for the additional eyelids, she appeared to be quite human now.

I had to remember she was not.